Back in May 2010, Mayor Gonnelli was criticized for calling for an independent inquiry to look into the fire house anti-gay harassment settlement. Regardless of the position one takes on this issue, I personally view his calling for this inquiry a good thing. Permit me to explain my position.
This issue happened in April 2004, under Mayor Elwell’s leadership. It is now Feb. 2011. There has been a change in leadership on the Board of Education and in the political sector. These changes represented an opportunity for a fresh set of eyes to look at a set of old problems. The “fire house incident” being one in the political sector.
Point of information: on Aug. 26, 2008, I attended a council meeting. I praised the mayor and council for their decision to make transcripts of the Bias Crime Case (fire house incident) obtainable to those Secaucus citizens interested in the testimony given by all involved. To my amazement, I discovered that Mayor Elwell, on his own, with only the advice from the town attorney, made this offer without three councilmen’s knowledge. At that point in time, I appealed to the three councilmen to explain their thoughts in regard to Mayor Elwell’s decision to make the transcripts available to the public, and if you check the record, the three councilmen did. I agreed with their position. For the record, I also agreed with Mayor Elwell’s decision to make the transcripts public.
Back in August 2008, I urged all Secaucus residents to avail themselves of the opportunity to purchase the tapes of the transcript. The cost at that time was fifty cents. Believe me, it was the best fifty cents I ever invested.
It is now Feb. 2011. I urge Mayor Gonnelli and the town council to release the report in a similar manner like former Mayor Elwell did, and do it as soon as possible. Why? It has been my opinion, as well as others that I have spoken in the information obtained from reading the transcripts of the 2008 suit (a suit the town lost) things were missing and/or extremely convoluted. Example: The testimonies of all involved in this case. The questions asked. The bad language. The replies given, some not given. The 5th Amendment being invoked so many times that I stopped counting. The investigations by the Secaucus and Jersey City Police that did or did not take place.
The bottom line being that after I read the 19 days of testimonies, there were more questions than answers received. Hopefully, the disclosure of this report will bring closure to what has been so appropriately termed (deliberate indifference) shown by all involved back in 2008.
Some say this report will bring closure. I think not. I fear that the resurrection at this period in time, the opposite will occur. Once again, as I’ve said many times, time will tell.